On December 21, 1968, the Apollo 8 mission launched with an intercept trajectory for the moon. For those who may not remember (or like me, were not alive yet!), it was the first crewed spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit, circle the moon, and come back to earth safely. This paved the way for Apollo 11 to ultimately fulfill President Kennedy’s goal of landing on the moon before 1970, so its importance cannot be overstated. It took 68 hours for the crew to travel the distance, and they circled the moon ten times in nearly twenty hours before returning home. In one of the most watched television programs ever on Christmas Eve 1968, the crew of three described their impressions of the moon, and concluded the program by taking turns reading the first ten verses of the book of Genesis. (I do recommend hopping online and giving it a listen.) Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an atheist, later brought a lawsuit against NASA over the reading; this was rejected by the Supreme Court apparently for lack of jurisdiction in outer space.
Like the Apollo 8 mission, I’d like to suggest the significance of the first chapter of the Bible also cannot be overstated:
1) This account is often dismissed by scientists as unscientific, and the world we live in is increasingly hostile toward any Biblical narratives. Especially one that talks about an almighty and sovereign God able to create everything from nothing. But like the rest of the Bible, I don’t think that God inspired the writer (attributed to Moses) to record it as a geology or biology textbook. The account retells the events at a very high level, demonstrating a carefully designed and methodically planned world and universe. The events culminate in the crown jewel of God’s creation, humans created in the image of God –Imago Dei.
2) The key fact about Imago Dei that most people don’t realize that our very systems of western thought and governance are founded on this very concept. No other cultures place the same intrinsic value upon human life and dignity. This is especially unmistakable in America’s Declaration of Independence, in which Jefferson penned that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” Sure, it took time and the blood of over 600,000 soldiers for America to fully extend these rights as intended in the US. But undoubtedly Americans take for granted that we are beneficiaries of these truths, and apparently we try to remain willfully ignorant of where they came from.
3) Western society is currently trying to crush the idea of Imago Dei. Critical Race Theory (CRT), modern gender theory, and other Marxist or postmodern ideas are false, secular religions that seek to undermine and replace Christianity and other pillars of western civilization. They place power and value on immutable characteristics, they promote pernicious lies, and deny objective reality. In Genesis 1:27, we see that “God created man in His image… male and female He created them.” The thing I teach my children is that they are going to meet many different types of people. Some taller, some shorter, some with more melanin and some with less, boys and girls. We aren’t supposed to treat people differently because of any of these superficial characteristics, but we are called to love them as ourselves (Matt 22:36-40) as we are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
Astronauts have noted a cognitive shift called the “overview effect” when they look down at the earth from space, in which they feel a heightened sense of awe and wonder and self-transcendence by looking down from above. Think of it like that feeling of awe when you look out over the Grand Canyon or from out an airplane window, but on steroids. I think the Apollo crew knew the importance when they selected the verses (as it is common to all three of the predominant Abrahamic theologies of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), but I can only imagine how incredible it was to see Earthrise for the first time. Since it’s the start of the new year, and it’s a story about the Beginning, give Genesis 1 a fresh look. It’s a rich text with immeasurable value, not only to the start of the Bible and God’s redemptive plan for humanity, but also in the way it reshapes how humans ought to see each other. And maybe we can get a taste of not only that feeling of awe that the astronauts felt, but better understand how God views us: as precious creations, made in His image.
The headline sets out the parameters of the Annual Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting of Leidy’s Church. It’s always a good time of fellowship, food, business matters, and voting to adopt a budget for the new year. In 2024, that meeting takes place on the first Saturday of the year, that is, on the 6th of January. Greeting may begin as early as 5:30, though eating will not begin until 6pm. Usually the business meeting happens around 7 or so, and the voting wraps up by 8:30 or thereabouts.
The Annual Report will be gone through line-by-line at this meeting under the thoughtful and expert guidance of Jim Kinney. It is always fascinating to see the many facets of our church budget: from costs for paper to support given to missionaries to how much we spend on utilities to the extravagant expenditures of the choir.
Childcare will be available for the business part of the evening, though young person’s 12 and older are expected to stay in the meeting unless part of the childcare corps. Mark the date and clear your calendar so you can be present for the feast followed by the figures. It’s 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 6, 2024.
This Newsletter article should be considered the official notification to all members of Leidy’s Church of the Annual Congregational Dinner & Business Meeting.
You heard it here first . . . on January 21, the youth of Immanuel Leidy's Church will be leading the various aspects of the service of worship. The service will look very similar to a normal service, except the mic will be moved up and down to accommodate our 6’3” Ben Divens to 4'9” Ellie Shafer who walks around like she's 9’4”.
Our youth at Immanuel Leidy's Church are a special and unique bunch. They have a hunger for God's word, a desire to grow, have fun and are fiercely loyal to each other. I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of youth from the church over the years and these kids are at the top of the list. In the immortal words of Sherry Moyer, who was my youth leader under Toby, “Tony, this is a special group of kids”. Game recognizes game, and Sherry and Gerald were one of the many who helped mold me into the leader I am today.
There will be an opportunity toward the end of the service for people to come forward and pray for the youth. There is no prerequisite to come forward, just a desire to pray for the youth.
I am excited for what the Lord has in store for the youth of Immanuel Leidy's Church, and look forward to seeing y'all at worship that day.
We are rolling out a new church directory – right on Church Center! Previously, we had been utilizing the online directory that came with our printed directory. But, with our implementation of Church Center, now YOU have the ability to:
- Control whether or not you’d like to be listed in our Directory
- Control what information you’d like to share with others that have access to the Directory
- Update your picture as frequently as you’d like
Here are a few FAQ’s that we’ve gotten so far that may help you as you discover this wonderful resource we’re rolling out to the congregation:
How do I access Church Center?
There’s two ways to access Church Center:
- through an App that can be downloaded from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store on your Smart Phone by searching “Church Center” OR
- Online through the website https://leidyschurch.churchcenter.com
OK, I’m logged in! But I don’t see the Directory?! How can I see it?
No worries! Church Center will never automatically add anyone to the Directory. One of the members of the Leidy’s Church Admin team (Aaron & Alisha Vogelzang, Josh Heebner, and Jenny Ernst) will send an invitation to join the Directory through the email you input when you login. Once you receive an invitation, you can accept and then you’ll see the Directory.
How can I update my picture to look as good as Tony Kapusta’s?
We agree, Tony is a handsome guy. But, you can update your picture by clicking on your initials at the top right of the screen, then clicking on ‘My profile & settings’, then clicking on your initials again (or the picture you’d like to change). From there, you can change your picture.
Can I limit what I share through the Directory?
Absolutely. You control whether or not you’d like to share your:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Anniversary (if applicable)
- Home address
I’m not a member, but I would like to be in the Directory. Is that OK?
Of course. But, just so everyone knows the protocol, here it is:
- Members that sign up for Church Center will be invited automatically to join the Directory. That doesn’t mean that members are automatically listed – if you are a member you’ll still need to respond to the email inviting you to be a part of the Directory.
- Regular Attenders that sign up for Church Center will not be invited automatically; however, inclusion in the Directory is strongly encouraged, so if you’d like to be invited just reach out to an administrator and they’ll make it happen.
- Visitors that sign up for Church Center will not be invited automatically. An invitation would occur upon review.
If I’m not in the Directory, does that mean I can’t participate in the other things Church Center offers?
Not at all. You can still register for different groups, see the calendar, and give online if that’s your preference. Your participation in the Directory will not impact those things.
If you have any questions, please reach out to an administrator and they’ll be happy to help!
Calling all ladies to join us as we ring in the new year at our first meeting of 2024! It’s our annual tradition of Joke Night, so bring your funny & suitable jokes and let’s share in laughter as we start a new year of ministry together. Our monthly meeting is Tuesday, January 2, at 7pm in Rm. 123 (enter through west entrance, please). Questions? Feel free to contact Karen Mirabella.
The class will begin a new series Jeremiah—Daring to Hope in an Unstable World on January 7th. Learn to surrender to God’s will and rest your hope in Him alone. When we look around at today’s world, hope usually isn’t the first word that comes to mind. In many ways we live in an unstable world where marriages fail, bank accounts run low, friendships end, and the everyday demands of a fast-paced life get us down. In the Book of Jeremiah, we find God calling out to His people with a message of hope―a message that intentional living is possible even in an unstable world. But how do we do this? Where do we start? Jeremiah offers women hope for living in an uncertain world by learning to navigate the challenges and circumstances of their lives.
I am involved with a group that goes to Philadelphia to do street ministry. We go to a heavily infected drug and homeless area. There are many people there, most of them are in their 20’s. Food, clothing, and water are taken as a way of hopefully making a connection and being able to pray or share the gospel with them.
I tell them that Jesus is God’s Son, that He loves us so much that He died for their sins, that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, that He loves them and knows where they are, that He got them up that morning, that He can heal their hurt, that He stands outside and knocks, and if they let Him in He will hug them so hard they can’t breath (in a good way).
I was sharing the gospel with a man and after a time of talking to him, became convicted that I had made him a promise that I couldn’t keep. It would have been easy to forget about this guy and just walk away. The Bible says, in Ephesians that the battles we fight are not of this world, but against rulers, and spiritual forces of darkness that we can’t see. I had been operating on my own, seeking my own glory and not giving God the glory and waiting for Him
In Acts 19 there were some men who were operating on their own and came to face an evil spirit, that said, “Paul I know, and Jesus I know, but I don’t know you.” Devasting results followed. God designed us to call on Him, through Christ His son. I can’t play in a football game without a coach, and without equipment.
After confessing my sin. I needed to listen to Him and put on the whole armor of God. Ephesians 6. I had to make some logistical sacrifices, and ask for forgiveness for stealing the glory. God not only made a way, but He blessed it many times over. All praise and glory to God.
Thank you so much for your help in this ministry. Coats, hoodies, socks, underwear, gauze rolls, soap, mouthwash, are appreciated and there is a spot in the coat room for them. Please pray first and ask God to make it to His glory.
God bless you all!
The Mission Committee has received an overwhelming number (i.e. less than five but more than zero!) of inquiries as to when Leidy’s Church will do another year-long Dollar-A-Day endeavor. Here’s the answer: Dollar-A-Day resurfaces in 2024, that is, this year.
You remember how it works. Each individual participating commits to putting aside one dollar each day for the designated project and to lift a prayer on behalf of the project. The Mission Committee provides handy “collection” bags for each person, along with a set of envelopes marked for each month. On the last Sunday of each month the corresponding envelope is put in one of the offering pillars at the rear of the sanctuary. If 80 individuals faithfully participate, $28,800 will be raised at the end of a year. Here are the totals for other levels of participation: 85 = $30,600; 90 = $32,400; 95 = $34,200; 100 = $36,000. It is suggested that spouses participate separately rather than jointly. Similarly, there may be young folk who can squirrel away a dollar a day, so, yes, they should participate. For instance, Josh Heebner and Laura Heebner could each participate at a dollar a day, as well as their daughter Anna should she so choose. That would make $3 a day coming from the Heebs! Some Mission Committee smarties have suggested that Retired Pastors should give double or triple since they don’t have anything else to do or anything worthwhile on which to spend money. Hmmm.
You say that’s all well and good, but for what project or purpose are we raising funds? Here’s the answer: for Pastor Jésus Ramon’s house. Pastor Jésus has worked alongside Pastor Dagoberto as part of the In This Time of Need food relief effort for Venezuelan refugees and poverty-stricken families that is funded by Leidy’s Church. Pastor Jésus lives in San Cristobal, Venezuela, with his wife and three daughters. He is the Pastor of Christ the King of Kings church. He regularly preaches, takes food, delivers over-the-counter medical supplies, clothing, and other items of need to the poorest of the poor in his part of Venezuela. That would include five different states in the country of Venezuela. As is the case in many South American churches, one building houses the church and the pastor’s home. Unfortunately, the building where Christ the King of Kings church is located is very much afflicted with black mold. Pastor Jésus and his family – surprise, surprise -- all have respiratory issues. His youngest daughter, Bella, is particularly affected by the mold.
The Mission Committee has investigated the cost of remediating the black mold issue in the building. The cost is estimated to be north of the $30,000 mark. Such a figure is well beyond the capacity of Pastor Jésus and beyond the capacity of the church to address. That’s where we come in with the Dollar-A-Day program. Working together we can address this issue. Yes, it would be a year from now, but that’s better than not addressing it all!
On Sunday, January 7th, the Mission Committee will make a brief presentation – complete with pictures – of what’s needed and how the Dollar-A-Day program can help. You should plan ot be present for that present-ation. Following the service of worship, the Mission Committee will have sign up tables in the narthex where you obtain a “collection” bag and the 12 monthly envelopes. Throughout 2024 there will be other events to help raise funds. For instance, in February there will be a Wings and Trivia Night while May will feature a South American banquet – for which we hope to have Pastor Jésus present! You’ll want to keep your eye open for other events undertaken for this cause. If you’d like to donate your time to certain aspects of this effort, please feel free to contact Vangie Niederhaus (email@example.com) to get involved. There’s something to be done by any gift, skill set, or ability.
When I say Ben Shafer, what is it that you think of? His choice of Sunday morning attire is unique, how he tells a story 23 times and thinks it's the first time he told you come to mind for me, or maybe that he's not a member yet at Leidy’s. (That last part will come into play later.)
Last year I had the not so unique privilege of having to award Ben numerous awards for his chili entry that I think was rigged like a Jeb Bush Florida Election…Best Chili Overall, Best Chili in the Mystery Category and Best Names Chili which was so good I already forgot it…
The Chili Cook-Off is back again this year at Immanuel Leidy's Church on January 20,2024, with all proceeds going to Night to Shine, leidyschurch.org/nts.
There will be three possible categories of Chili
3- Mystery (combo of meats, veggies, moose, venison)
*mild spice only please for all three categories
The doors open at 5:30pm. Cost is as follows:
1-Chili Entry - $20 (this gives you the ability to judge also)
2-Chili Judge - $15 a person (this also gives you house chili access )
3-Junior Judge - $5 (12 and under, also access to house chili)
4-Unlimited House Chili- $10
5-Family Discount - $60 max total of any combination of 1-4
The Chili will be judged with 10 possible points awarded for each category
Prizes (TBD) will be as follows:
1st place overall
1st and 2nd Place in Each Category
1st Place for Best Name
Leidy’s Church will be sending a bus again this year. A sign-up sheet is posted in the narthex, or contact the church office by email (be sure to provide your cell number, email, and all extra participants information as well in the email) to register via that means. Cost is $25 per person for the round-trip ride in a comfortable Perkiomen tour coach. It’s a steal of a deal that can’t be beat.
The theme of the 2024 March for Life is ”Pro-Life: With Every Woman, For Every Child.” Sometimes folk who are Pro-Life are erroneously characterized as caring only for the baby and not for the mother. This year’s theme is meant to correct that mischaracterization. Being :Pro-Life means all the possible support and help is given to each woman considering abortion, and also we are ready to help each child be cared for with love and material provisions.
The tour coach will pull out from the Leidy’s Church parking lot at 6 am on that cold Friday morning. That means you should be there by 5:45. There will be a stop for breakfast on the way down at one of the rest areas on I-95. It is hoped we’ll arrive at Union Station in D.C. early enough to allow for visitation of museums or other sites of interest prior to the beginning of the March.
At 4 pm everyone is to be back at Union Station to board our coach and begin the trek home. We plan to stop at a mall food court for dinner. Our anticipated arrival time back in the Leidy’s Church parking lot is between 8 and 9 that evening. If this is of interest to you, please call 215-723-8707 to register or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you can always stop by and register in person as well! We’d be glad to see you. If you pay by check, please make it out to Leidy’s Church.
Present: Brian Shoemaker, Jerry Kulp, Shaun Permar, Bob Ott, Aaron Vogelzang, Jim Kinney, Ken Merritt, Brian Radcliff, Jim Foote, Josh Heebner, Kendall Musselman, and Francis WeissAbsent: Tim Leidy & Tony Kapusta
The meeting was called to order at 7:32 PM. Aaron opened with prayer and citing Psalm 23, led devotions on the topic of shepherding. He encouraged everyone to be intentional as they strive to echo the love and dedication of our good Shepherd, the Lord.
Minutes from the Consistory Meeting of November 8th were reviewed. On motion of Jerry Kulp, seconded by Josh Heebner, the Minutes were approved.
The monthly financial report for November 2023 was presented. General Fund giving totaled $52,116, while budgeted expenses totaled $44,158, resulting in a Total Fund balance of $52,075. Renovation Fund contributions for November were $15,949 (primarily designated for recent parsonage renovations), with no disbursements, resulting in a balance of $151,049. It was noted that while General Fund offering was below average this month, the increased giving to the Renovation Fund was significant. Before the end of the month, the $100,000 borrowed from the Renovation Fund will be paid back via transferring $100,000 from the General Fund to the Renovation Fund. The November financial report was approved.
The draft for the 2024 preliminary budget was reviewed. The Missions Budget remained unchanged, and 15 benevolence recipients were grouped in a pool of budgeted funds totaling $26,468. Regarding funds budgeted for Pastoral Salary, the proposal budgeted 6 months’ salary for a Sr. Pastor ($45,000) and 6 months’ salary for a Youth Pastor. Since no decisions have been made regarding staffing beyond a Sr. Pastor, it was decided to put $12,500 each for the Associate Pastor and the Youth Pastor, but to be clear, the $12,500 is merely a placeholder at this time. 2024 non-pastoral staff raises were discussed, the result being: Jerry Kulp made a motion that all non-pastoral staff receive a 2.5% raise with the exception of newly hired secretary, Jenny Ernst. Brian Shoemaker seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved. Overall, the purposed 2024 budget is $741,599. Josh Heebner made a motion to accept the budget as presented. The motion was seconded by Jerry Kulp and carried. It was noted that the proposed budget will be posted at least two weeks before the congregational meeting and the final budget is pending congregational approval at the annual Congregational Meeting on January 6th.
As is Leidy’s tradition, the Consistory members whose terms are expiring at the end of the year (Tim and Jim), suggested officers for 2024. An open and honest discussion on this topic was had. Jerry Kulp made a motion that the 2024 officers be: Josh Heeber (president), Francis Weiss (vice president), and Shaun Permar (secretary). The motion was seconded by Kendall Musselman and unanimously carried.
The Pulpit Committee reported that a few candidates have submitted their applications. The review team is taking a look at them, calling references, and reviewing sermons. An update will be given to the congregation this Sunday as well as at the Congregational Dinner. There is one candidate for the worship leader position who recently expressed interest and will be submitting his resume soon.
The youth room now has hot water due to a small on demand hot water heater being installed (paid for by Ladies of Leidy’s). The lack of hot water in other areas of the church is still being accessed and proposals will be submitted soon. The apartment flooring bills are being paid and the estimates for new windows in the parsonage and apartment are coming in.
The proposed final ministry team document was reviewed and approved. The teams and their leaders are as follows:
AV & Network Management – Jim Foote
Communications & Administration Support – Aaron Vogelzang
Finance – Francis Weiss will be the liaison to Consistory for the Finance Team
Food and Fellowship – Tony Kapusta
Missions & Ministry Support – Brian Shoemaker
Community Outreach – Kendal Musselman
Property – Brian Radcliff
Congregational Care – Ken Merritt
Welcoming – Jerry Kulp
Christian Education – Shaun Permar
Praise and Worship – Bob Ott
*Note: Consistory president will no longer lead a committee due to their other responsibilities.
Regarding Planning Center, we are transitioning from Easy Tithe to giving via Planning Center. A retreat (with all elders and deacons) is being planned for January, exact date TBD. It will be held at church on a Friday evening and Saturday.
Aaron led a time of intercessory prayer for spoken concerns. The meeting adjourned with a unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer at 10:04pm.
Question 37: How does the Holy Spirit help us?The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, comforts us, guides us, gives us spiritual gifts and the desire to obey God; and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.
Ephesians 6:17–18: And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
Commentary - John Owen
The Holy Spirit dwelling in us gives guidance and direction. Fundamentally, habitually, he enlightens our minds, give us eyes, understandings, shines into us, translates us from darkness into marvelous light, whereby we are able to see our way, to know our paths, and to discern the things of God. . . . He gives a new light and understanding, Spirit, Restoration, Growing in Grace whereby, in general, we are enabled to “discern, comprehend, and receive spiritual things.” . . . Strength comes as well as light, by the pouring out of the Spirit on us; strength for the receiving and practice of all his gracious discoveries to us. . . . From this indwelling of the Spirit we have supportment. Our hearts are very ready to sink and fail under our trials; indeed, a little thing will cause us so to do: flesh, and heart, and all that is within us, are soon ready to fail. . . . The Spirit helpeth, bears up that infirmity which is ready to make us go double.
I’ve always been struck by Jesus’s words: “Apart from me you can do nothing.” They are a humbling and refreshing reminder that our need, from first to last, isn’t partial, but total. By giving us the Holy Spirit, Christ has given us all we need and more, from first to last. The Holy Spirit gives us life. He fills our life and points us to the One who is life. He gives us life in that our starting point is not simply that we’re spiritually needy, but that we are dead in sin. Our spiritual life begins when the Holy Spirit regenerates us, giving us new life. When he turns our heart of stone into a heart of flesh, he makes the truth of God’s Word real to us, and we freely embrace Christ as he’s offered to us in the gospel. This reminds us that being a Christian isn’t about being a better person but about being a new person, by God’s grace alone, through faith alone. Not only does he give us life, but he also fills our life. When we become Christians, God the Father adopts us as his children and gives to us his Spirit of adoption. He comes to live in us and fill us, and in doing so he guides us as a counselor would—supporting, convicting us of our sin, strengthening us in Christ, encouraging us in the way we should live, helping us to pray, and even praying for us when we’re too weak to do so ourselves. In all this, he grows us in Christlikeness, enabling us to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. And he gives us specific gifts to use to contribute to the building up of the body of Christ, and to love, serve, and obey God. So he gives us life. He fills our life. And finally, he points us to the One who is life. Jesus said, “[The Spirit] will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He doesn’t draw attention to himself but glorifies Jesus and gives us the grace to do the same, making him who is life our life and love. So the One who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, has given us his Spirit to supply all we need from first to last. He gives us life, fills our life, and points us to the One who is life.
1 Rachel Leidy, Nicole Peck
2 Chelsea McDonald
3 Jack Heebner
4 Darlene Leidy
5 Dave Doran
6 Paul Kraus, Jill Ott
7 Randy Godshall, Lewis Stretch
8 Beth Kulp
9 Charlotte Kehs, Wendy Radcliff
10 Connie Merritt, Renee Shafer
11 Ben Divens, Brian Lafty, Sr., Dianne Nase
12 Julia Kulp, Dottie Rimmer
13 Rod Harbon, Jacqualyn Hillegass, Henry Niederhaus
14 Janie Inyang, Mark Kostishion, Ed Schmidt
15 Steve Swartz
16 Annabelle Martindell
17 Nicholas Sciacca
18 Val Hager, John Rittenhouse
31 Arlin Moyer
10 Rich & Juliana Kapusta
11 Ted & Wanda Brunner
12 Henry & Pearl Walter
13 Kendall & Mary Beth Musselman
27 Jim & Genie Smedberg